Why this Middle Eastern restaurant has banned baba ghanoush

The team behind Nour in Surry Hills.
The team behind Nour in Surry Hills. Photo: Caroline McCredie

With its Palestinian head chef and Israeli executive chef working side-by-side, a Lebanese owner and a fresh take on Modern Middle Eastern, Nour sounds more like a UN project with a SBS-TV film crew in tow than a new Surry Hills restaurant. When it opens later this week its Lebanese-leaning menu will be decidedly un-Sydney like.

Co-owner Ibby Moubadder has banned baba ghanoush, tabouli and belly dancers. "When I moved to Australia I couldn't believe the Lebanese places all seemed to have the same menu. I wanted to do something different," he explains.

He's also keen to skip the media portrayed image of a bombed-out Beirut, focusing instead on his hometown's position as a hotbed of great design. To that end, Sydney outfit DS17 (Alpha, The Resident) has fashioned a smart, modern interior. Moubadder and his business partner Eleanor Harris have a good track record in Sydney, as the team behind Newtown's Cuckoo Callay.

Nour restaurant in Surry Hills.
Nour restaurant in Surry Hills. Photo: Caroline McCredie

At Nour, which is Arabic for light, they've brought together Palestinian chef Nader Shayeb (Moro, London) and Israeli chef Roy Ner from the Sydney-based Russolini Group. The result of that collaboration hops from lamb tartar with quail eggs and pickled okra to snapper with saffron and cuttlefish rice and an heirloom beetroot dish with fennel tops, cumin and Persian feta.

Shop 3/490 Crown Street, Surry Hills, noursydney.com, 9331 3413

Mon-Sat, 12pm-late